Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Not long after my family moved to the Portland area in 1982 we began eating at the Hands On Cafe at the Oregon College of Arts and Crafts. In my memory I've only had breakfast or brunch there, and it's always been top notch. With only 4 or 5 options the kitchen can make everything just right and special.

Last Sunday we were there with my parents and I deviated from my usual sweet choice to try the savory brunch item. The meal always starts with a half a grapefruit - sprinkled with candied ginger (much to my dad's displeasure.) There's also an assortment of breakfast breads and good coffee to hold you until the main meal arrives, which, as my dad observed, is always rather quickly. (Perhaps another bonus of the limited menu.)

The guys had the buttermilk pancakes with blueberries, bananas, creme fraiche, whipped cream, and almond slices with a scrambled egg and homemade sausage patties. While the girls enjoyed the grilled mashed potato patties on a lemon cream sauce with 2 poached eggs, sauteed cabbage, and a piece of baked spaghetti squash and spinach casserole. Lots of flavors, and it was all so good.

Calder ate most of the breakfast breads himself and grew figgity in the high chair. But that's another good thing about the cafe at OCAC... if you have to leave the table to entertain a toddler there's plenty to look at and room to wander, so you don't really miss out. (Easy for me to say, as I wasn't the one who had to do any entertaining this particular visit. Thanks Dad and Jeff.)

I'm glad my family ventured to this great place while I was growing up, and that we can continue to share it together and with others now that we, once again, live near.

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